I’m at the airport again, this time heading to Hong Kong. I have the opportunity to see my dad, but not under the best circumstances, as my Uncle Freddy passed away. I don’t have many memories of him. In fact, I only have two memories of him from when I was ten or so, both positive: him taking me to a movie about a wannabe Bruce Lee in Africa and him showing us around his neighborhood. He went off the grid after that and no one really knew what happened. We always wondered, speculated, and even searched, but nothing ever came up. All I knew were those two memories and the fact that I wanted to be a cool uncle like him one day.
One doesn’t ever prepare to hear the words of someone’s passing, but it’d also be inaccurate to say I didn’t have an expectation for how I’d feel in reaction to news like that. I thought I would think: “That’s sad, but that’s how life goes” only because my interactions with him were very limited. So it surprised me when I sat on the edge of our couch with that sour feeling in my eyes which I’ve come to learn as the moment before my eyes get watery. Perhaps it speaks to the power of positive memories however limited they might be. He also remains one of the few relatives in my life whom I naturally still append an “Aunt” or “Uncle” in front of their name when everyone else has graduated to a first-name basis in my mind. Maybe that’s a sign of respect or maybe it’s a sign of an attachment to my childhood.
On a happier note, I had as warm a send off as I could’ve ever hoped for. Your Uncle Fred and Uncle JJ came by for dinner bearing gifts: Uncle JJ with his infamous Mac & Cheese bake and Uncle Fred with a cake. And of course, before I stepped out the door, a lot of tail-wagging from Kili O’Beef and as much of a hug as your mother could manage given how much in the way you were, but maybe I should think of it as a family hug instead!